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The sanguine calm that prevailed among even some of America's more pessimistic observers in the aftermath of the Democrats' November successes has rapidly deteriorated into a mix of alarm and despair as the new year is just beginning. Hopes that the voters' rebuke would chasten Bush and Cheney were quickly dashed by their arrogant declarations that mere electoral results would never deter them from their mission. Those who relied on the Democrats to impeach the country's hell bent rulers were brought back to reality when it became clear that Pelosi's pledge wasn't just for pre-election consumption, but was part of the deal struck with the real powers-that-be so that Democrats could enjoy a little time at the lobbyists' money trough.
Why are so many experts upset when the November elections were supposed to have taken American democracy off the "grave" list?
It's as easy as 1, 2, 3.
Step number 1: Bush will attack Iran, perhaps within the next few weeks as the needed second carrier task force arrives in Persan Gulf. Robert Parry, the respected reporter of Iran/Contra fame, writes that:
[T]here is growing alarm among military and intelligence experts that Bush already has decided to attack and simply is waiting for a second aircraft carrier strike force to arrive in the region and for a propaganda blitz to stir up some pro-war sentiment at home.
While Senate Democrats can't even unite on a plan to bring the Iraq War to a halt, Bush, Cheney and Olmert are busy finalizing plans for the next, even more disastrous war. Two of the three leading contenders for the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards, sound like they are in support of an Iran attack anyway.
Step number 2: the blowback from an attack on Iran will have severe impacts on the United States in terms of both public safety and economic stability.
One U. S. military source tells Parry that the response from Iran "will be like the TV show '24.'" This echoes earlier warnings from terrorism expert Richard Clarke that an attack on Iran would bring retaliation on U. S. soil from terrorist forces "far superior to anything Al Qaeda was ever able to field."
The economic threat is twofold. First, Iran has already threatened to respond to an Israeli or U. S. attack by closing off the Straits of Hormuz through which 40 per cent of world's oil passes. If there is even a risk that oil tankers will be sunk by Iran's combination of ground-to-ship missiles, mini-subs and torpedo boats, insurance companies will refuse to insure supertankers in the region, and the price of oil will skyrocket well beyond the $100 per barrel mark. On top of the effect on the price of oil, China's reaction to a U;S. attack on Iran could devastate the U. S. dollar. China's central bank currently holds more than $850 billion in U. S. reserves. If they were to dump all or part of that on the market in retaliation for a U. S. attack on one of their major oil suppliers, there is no entity large enough to step in to save the dollar.
The result of Iran's and possibly China's and even Russia's countermoves against the U.S.? Terrorist attacks and economic chaos in the U. S., all of which lead to--
Step 3: full implementation of a police state in the U.S.
All the elements are already in place. The Executive Branch of the U. S. government has declared its ability to detain people, even citizens, without the benefit of habeas corpus, as long as they are classified as "enemy combatants." National security agencies are already using broad sweeps of telephone and Internet traffic, looking to trap anyone who speaks or writes something out lf line.
Most frieghtening of all, a plethora of new regulations and policies is making it very difficult even to leave the United States. Writing under the pen name "Pariah," a Canadian resident, who was active in antiwar protests in the 60s and 70s, has watched as his cross-border travels between the U. S. and Canada have become more and more difficult since 911. He writes that, "America, like Russia and China before it, will become a prison for many of its people."
Can anything stop this three-step march to fascism? Seymour Hersh, who broke the My Lai story in the 70s and has been uncovering government skullduggery ever since, isn't optimistic:
The fact of the matter is we have a government that will do what it wants to do for the next two years," he said. "The worst is yet to come. It's sort of like we're essentially powerless [and] just play it out.
There are choices to be made. You can "let it play out" and hope that the Democrats grow a backbone very quickly or that Bush and Cheney have a dramatic change of heart. Or you can do something to move your family to high ground before the coming flood. If these experts are right, and there is an attack on Iran coming in the next few weeks, time is very, very short. If you wait until the bombs start to fall, you may find you're not permitted to fly to a safe harbor like Europe or even to enter Canada by car because you fail your "exit interview,"
Find a shelter from the storm before it's too late.